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My ex had facial surgery and I'm scared of my reaction when I see her

Tagged as: Breaking up, The ex-factor<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 June 2014) 7 Answers - (Newest, 1 July 2014)
A male United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

My ex and I have been broken up for months now. I still do have feelings for her and we have remained close friends over the time. We communicate often and go out. We're not back together because we were just incompatible and realized a relationship was out of the question. I still do love her though.

She recently got a surgery because of an illness she suffered. The surgery was done on her face. We just talked on the phone and I enjoyed hearing her voice and knowing that she was alright. Although, she did mentioned that she was hideous now. I assured her that I won't judge and that it wouldn't change anything between us. I would still feel the same way about her. I could tell she was hurting physically and emotionally over the phone. I tried my best to let her know it was alright.

I hate myself for even thinking this but I'm afraid that when I see her, I won't know how to react. She's already been through enough shit that she doesn't need me to be insensitive. She needs more support now than ever before and I don't want to let her down. It hurts knowing that she was one of the most beautiful girls I know inside and out, now I fear my heart will be too shallow to see it. I agreed to meet her next week and I'm trying to prepare myself mentally for it. She expects love and support from me and I don't want to disappoint her. I'm just so afraid of the thoughts that's going through my head.

I know I have no right asking for support when she's the one needing it the most right now. I just want to know how to handle this situation. I still love her, I just want to be able to still show it when it matters the most.

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A female reader, OuttaTime88 United States +, writes (1 July 2014):

OuttaTime88 agony auntThanks for your followups. I don't think you need to worry. You care about her a lot so I don't think a change in her looks is going to make you forget what a great person she is. Besides, people are their own worst critics. It could be she is having trouble getting used to looking different than before, so in her mind it makes it seem that much worse. While she thinks it's really bad, others may not.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (1 July 2014):

Thank you female anon, that's the advice I needed to hear. I was worried about hurting her feelings but now I understand that she may not fully expect me to act the same way. One other very important reason I want to be there for here is because I have a slight deformation of my own, nothing too obvious when I wear a shirt. She accepted it and never judged me. I feel like I owe the same amount of respect to her, I want to.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 June 2014):

I understand where you're coming from, you're afraid you're going to stare too long or hesitate or not so much make a face but ... not react exactly like you always did. It's hard not to stare or react "differently" when someone looks different. This is especially true when it's someone we know and love and they look different from what they used to. My niece, who recently died, was born with many disabilities. I'd seen pictures, but she was so tiny and had so many tubes sticking out of her that when I first got to touch her through the incubator box I started crying immediately. I didn't mean to do that. There was a girl I waited on who was clearly a cutter. My heart went out to her but I accidentally stared too long and she went off on me. Needless to say, I got no tip (bitchy on her part, what did she expect?) Still, I know what you mean. If she reacts badly, just apologize and tell her you love her and that you support her with what she's going through. Deep down, she understands I'm sure

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (30 June 2014):

Hey OuttaTime88, it's not so much as finding her attractive but more about saying how physically beautiful she was.

I never said I was attracted to her.

Her beauty was always obvious to anyone who saw her and I feel horrible knowing that it was stolen from her and she may be depressed because of it. I feel that my heart will be too shallow to see through whatever deformation she has, in order to remember how beautiful her in sides are.

I'm just worried that whatever face I first make when I see her will reveal what my thoughts are. I want to be a true friend and so I want to be able to show her that my feelings are still genuine.

We're really close to the point where people actually think we're going out but all it is is that we just enjoy each other's company. I don't blame the outside eye from thinking different, so many people already do.

She didn't want to see me today because she was too self conscience. Which in turn just made me even more nervous to see her as well. She make it seem like it's really bad and as a friend, I feel the pain and hurt she may be going through, although not as much as she does,

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A female reader, OuttaTime88 United States +, writes (30 June 2014):

OuttaTime88 agony auntThere is one thing I don't understand here. If you are no longer with her, and there is no plan of getting back together, why are you concerned about finding her attractive? Or are you afraid you'll make a face or something? I doubt you will as you are already expecting her to look different. If you think she looks bad, just don't tell her. She can't read your mind. You can still be supportive regardless of what you think.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (30 June 2014):

I'm sorry, cerberus. I have to say you are completely wrong. I am not trying to get back with her nor was there any attempts since we broke up. We left at mutual terms and decided it was best we remained friends instead. I actually see her more as a best friend than anything else. Is it so wrong to still love her even though I don't have any more intimate feelings for her?

I wanted to leave out the part with me dating someone else simply because I didn't think it was relevant to the question. I'm happy with the person I'm seeing (non-exclusive) now and my ex and I are nothing but great friends. I love her dearly and I would never want to see anything bad happen to her. We haven't done anything intimate or sexual since the day we broke up. I can assure you, I have %100 moved on from her. It's only this easy to be her friend because we realized that we weren't meant as a couple. I guess I didn't realize how my post came off because I only saw her in a platonic light. More like a family member than anything else. I know I said I still had feeling for her but what I meant was that I still loved her. Not as a love interest but as a person that's important to me.

I was just so worried about her that I didn't know how to help her through this. We're still there for each other when we're in need of a shoulder to lean on. It just seemed normal for us that way.

And no, it's NOT just a friend who had surgery. It's someone I care about and I hope that she can pull through this with the best of luck. Just because someone's "just a friend" doesn't mean you can't care about them. Thank you for your help anyway.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (30 June 2014):

It won't make a difference, OP, you're hardly going to vomit or burst out laughing when you see her.

You'll fine, don't worry about it.

I'd more worry about you playing white knight with an ex you have zero hope of being with but may be vulnerable enough for you to worm your way back in.

She has all the love and support she needs from her family and friends. Your motives are beyond questionable if you ask me.

The way you talk like a love sick puppy in complete denial of the reality of your relationship to her, which is no-existent.

This is literally the most sneaky, underhanded attempt to win a person back I've heard of. Actually no, I once knew a guy who pounced on the fact his ex's brother had committed suicide to get her back.

I say all this, OP, because you talk about being close friends but your motives are love, not friendship. This is too important and you're too scared of it.

I visit friends in hospital it's the most natural thing in the world, there's no anxiety, no fear of messing up because they're friends.

If I'm wrong and that's not your agenda, then what's the problem? It's just a friend who had surgery.

You have much bigger problems here than that though, this is very clearly an ex you haven't let go and will not until for a long time, or until it gets messy.

Best of luck.

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